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Five more ’80s films that deserve a commercial homage


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Say what you will about Matthew Broderick’s “Ferris Bueller’s Day Off”-inspired ad for Honda, but it got everyone talking about his 1986 debut as the slacker hero.

Given the response (mostly positive) to the ad across just about every online social network, it’s safe to say that “Matthew’s Day Off” will go down as a marketing “win” — and when that happens, companies usually take notice and scramble to replicate that success.

As I mentioned in my earlier post about the ad, there are a few other ’80s classics that might be worth revisiting in commercials, and not just because of the nostalgia factor. In some cases, the timing might be just right for a character to be paired up with a particular brand.

1. Val Kilmer shows the “Real Genius” of Apple (or Google).

There was no shortage of movies about nerds who make it big during the ’80s, but Kilmer’s take on Chris Knight made him the undisputed alpha nerd. Not only was he brilliant, but he was effortlessly cool, too — two characteristics that were rarely found in the bespectacled, awkward on-camera nerds of the time. With that in mind, how appropriate would it be to see Chris Knight trying to convince you that buying the iPad 3 is a “moral imperative”? Even better (from a marketing standpoint), have Kilmer (as Chris Knight) sell you on the long list of ways Google can better your life, then take a not-too-subtle swipe at Apple (a la Samsung). Commence flame war heated debate in 3… 2… 1…

2. Cary Elwes has an anti-piracy PSA for “The Princess Bride” fans.

Sure, he started off as the lovable Westley, but he was known the world over as the Dread Pirate Roberts. If movie studios and record labels want to counteract some of the hostility directed at their anti-piracy campaigns, why not trade some of those terrible PSAs and laughably threatening ads for a tongue-in-cheek message from a pirate everyone loves? Have Elwes don the black outfit and mask one more time to explain why people who download movies illegally should be sentenced to life in the Fire Swamp, and then just sit back and watch the message multiply like R.O.U.S. (Rodents Of Unusual Size, of course).

3. Judd Nelson brings back John Bender to promote beer… or jeans… or anything, really.

In “The Breakfast Club,” Judd Nelson almost single-handedly ushered in the grunge era with his role as drug-dealing, denim-wearing, head-banging, authority-defying John Bender. Want to give your product an edge that says “I was bad-ass before being bad-ass was cool”? Get John Bender — or rather, get a long-haired Judd Nelson, dress him in a bunch of flannel and denim (complete with fingerless gloves and unlaced work boots), and have him explain that the only people who would buy your competitor’s product are neo-maxi-zoom-dweebies.

4. Bill S. Preston, Esq. reminds you of the importance of choosing the right cellphone service provider.

Want to convince the world that you really do have the best coverage area? Get in touch with “Bill & Ted’s Excellent Adventure” actor Alex Winter (since his co-star Keanu Reeves might be a tough sell right now) and have him reprise his role as Wyld Stallyns co-frontman Bill S. Preston. Sure, they traveled in a phone booth during their “Excellent Adventure” and “Bogus Journey” days, but now they don’t even need to leave their couch to travel through time with Verizon… or AT&T… or whatever company jumps on this idea. STATION!

5. Falkor the Luck Dragon wants you to play the lottery.

If your product encourages people to try their hand at beating the odds, could there be any better spokesperson than Falkor, the furry, flying deus ex machina of “The NeverEnding Story”? Sure, the original film was aimed at children, but those kids who dreamed of being Atreyu are now adults who dream of, well… having lots of money and owning cool stuff. Some people will probably complain about the marketing campaign and say silly stuff like, “this commercial is raping my childhood” and so forth, but that’s just plain ridiculous. Everyone knows that when Falkor told Atreyu “never give up and good luck will find you,” he totally ripped that line from a Lotto ad.

What do you think of these suggestions? Chime in below or on Facebook or Twitter.


Rev Up

Your Portlandia Personality Test

The New Portlandia Webseries Is Going Your Way

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Carrie and Fred understand that although we have so much in common, we’re each so beautifully unique and different. To help us navigate those differences, Portlandia has found an easy and honest way to embrace our special selves in the form of a progressive new traffic system: a specific lane for every kind of driver. It’s all in honor of the show’s 8th and final season, and it’s all presented by Subaru.

Ready to find out who you really are? Match your personality to a lane and hop on the expressway to self-understanding.

Lane 10: Trucks Piled With Junk

Your junk is falling out of your trunk. Shake a tail light, people — this lane is for you.

Lane 33: Twins

You’re like a Gemini, but waaaay more pedestrian. Maybe you and a friend just wear the same outfits a lot. Who cares, it’s just twinning enough to make you feel special.

Lane 27: Broken Windows

Bad luck follows you around and everyone knows it. Your proverbial seat is always damp from proverbial rain. Is this the universe telling you to swallow your pride? Yes.

Lane 69: Filthy Cars

You’re all about convenience. Getting your car washed while you drive is a no-brainer.

Lane 43: Newly Divorced Singles

It’s been a while since you’ve driven alone, and you don’t know the rules of the road anymore. What’s too fast? What’s too slow? Are you sending the right signals? Don’t worry, the breakdown lane is nearby if you need it.

Still can’t find a lane to match your personality? Check out all the videos here. And see the final season of Portlandia this spring on IFC.


Give Back

Last-Minute Holiday Gift Guide

Hits from the '80s are on repeat all Christmas Eve and Day on IFC.

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GIFs via Giphy, Photos via The Everett Collection

It’s the final countdown to Christmas and thanks to IFC’s movie marathon all Christmas Eve and Christmas Day, you can revel in classic ’80s films AND find inspiration for your last-minute gifts. Here are our recommendations, if you need a head start:

Musical Instrument

Great analog entertainment substitute when you refuse to give your kid the Nintendo Switch they’ve been drooling over.

Breakfast In Bed

Any significant other or child would appreciate these Uncle Buck-approved flapjacks. Just make sure you’re not stuck on clean up duty.

Cocktail Supplies

You’ll need them to get through the holidays.

Dance Lessons

So you can learn to shake-shake-shake (unless you know ghosts willing to lend a hand).

Comfy Clothes

With all the holiday meals, there may be some…embigenning.

Get even more great inspiration all Christmas Eve and Day on IFC, and remember…


A-O Rewind

Celebrating Portlandia One Sketch at a Time

The final season of Portlandia approaches.

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GIFs via Giphy

Most people measure time in minutes, hours, days, years…At IFC, we measure it in sketches. And nothing takes us way (waaaaaay) back like Portlandia sketches. Yes, there’s a Portlandia milepost from every season that changed the way we think, behave, and pickle things. In honor of Portlandia’s 8th and final season, Subaru presents a few of our favorites.


Put A Bird On It

Portlandia enters the pop-culture lexicon and inspires us to put birds on literally everything.

Colin the Chicken

Who’s your chicken, really? Behold the emerging locavore trend captured perfectly to the nth degree.

Dream Of The ’90s

This treatise on Portland made it clear that “the dream” was alive and well.

No You Go

We Americans spend most of our lives in cars. Fortunately, there’s a Portlandia sketch for every automotive situation.

A-O River!

We learned all our outdoor survival skills from Kath and Dave.

One More Episode

The true birth of binge watching, pre-Netflix. And what you’ll do once Season 8 premieres.

Catch up on Portlandia’s best moments before the 8th season premieres January 18th on IFC.